THE STIGMATA OF ST. FRANCIS – FEAST: 17 SEPTEMBER
We celebrate on 17th September the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi. Few saints have had a decisive influence on the civil and ecclesiastical history of all time as the Poverello of Assisi. And few have taken the evangelical maxims as far as this man who identified himself so much with Jesus Christ crucified, that he deserved to receive in his body the sacred stigmata.
According to his biographers, two years before his death, St. Francis of Assisi retired in Tuscany with five of his closest brothers, on the Mount La Verna, to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and prepare the feast of St. Michael the Archangel by forty days of fasting. It was around the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Kneeling before his cell, Francis was praying with outstretched arms awaiting dawn and was subject to an outstanding grace. The Lord crucified appeared to him in a figure of a six-winged seraph. After spending time with him in conversation, he departed leaving in the body of Francis the sacred stigmata printed.
Thus, this disciple and a passionate lover of Christ, who longed to resemble him, received this similar trait with Jesus Christ.
At the close of his life, when he was at the end of his strength, stigmatized, suffering without relief both physically and morally, that he reached the summit of perfect joy and composed the Canticle of the Creatures. He needed to attain the very heart of the Paschal Mystery of death and Resurrection before he could express this hymn in which the whole of creation is reconciled with God and in Him recovers its pristine integrity.
Our current preoccupations with freedom, with peace, with life, with happiness, with respect for God’s creation, all these aspirations are suggested to us by Francis of Assisi.
Copied from FMM Website
Jakarta, 17 September 2016
A Christian Pilgrim